Former Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal has admitted he didn’t want to play in the north London derby due to the risk of suffering an injury.
The Spaniard ended a six-year spell at the Emirates this summer when he completed a move back to his home country to play for La Liga side Real Sociedad.
Despite manager Unai Emery wanting to use the left back in the crucial tie against Tottenham Hotspur, Noticias de Nevarra reports that Monreal didn’t want to risk his summer deal falling through.
Having completed his move back to Spain, he discussed not playing against Tottenham, stating: “But the most sensible thing was not to do it to avoid any unforeseen event.”
As he grows ever older, game time would have undoubtedly become harder to come by had he chose to remain with the Gunners.
With the likes of Sead Kolasinac to compete with already, the return of new summer signing Kieran Tierney from injury would have seen the 33-year-old fall even further down the pecking order, making the move to Sociedad seem a sensible one.
And it was clearly a move the player was desperate to make himself, sacrificing his place in what was one of Arsenal’s biggest games of their entire 2019/20 Premier League campaign.
Leroy Sane’s situation at Premier League champions Manchester City may have inspired his decision not to play. The Germany international looked all set to make a move to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich during the transfer window, but any possibility of that happening was hampered when he damaged his anterior cruciate ligament during the Community Shield victory over Liverpool.
Not only did Sane miss out on a return to the Bundesliga, but he is also set to miss out on the majority of this season at the Etihad as well. Consequently then, Monreal’s decision to avoid any possibility of suffering the same fate looks like a wise one.
Thankfully for Monreal, his absence didn’t prove too costly as Unai Emery’s men secured a hard-fought point, coming from 2-0 down to secure a 2-2 draw against fierce rivals Tottenham.